Enchanted Arrows

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Enchanted Arrows

PostAdded by LEAF Bot » May 20th, 2014, 21:36

Welcome, Children of the Forest. Come closer and examine these exquisite arrows our great archers have been making…


I have made a table to evaluate the effectiveness of each of our Enchanted Arrows, and of the Waywatchers’ Hawk-eyed Archer ability. I have accounted for different enemy Toughnesses, Armour Saves and negative To Hit-modifiers.

This ranges from Toughness 1 to 5: Anything T5 or more is Wounded on a 6+ by our S3 Asrai Longbows (or 5+ by the Moonfire Shot/Starfire Shafts against the appropriate army), so treat anything T6+ as T5.

The Armour Saves range from 6+ to 1+. A model without an Armour Save should be counted as having a 6+ for the purposes of this table, as our Arrows all negate at least one point of Armour.

Any possible Ward Saves were not taken into account here, as none of the Arrows have a way of modifying them. The only exception being Regeneration which can be countered by the Moonfire Shot/Starfire Shafts because they are Flaming Attacks.

The To Hit-modifiers range from +2 to -4. The first table was made for Glade Guard/Glade Riders/Deepwood Scouts and is based around BS4. The second table was made specifically for Waywatchers at BS5. If you are taking Characters, keep in mind that the conclusions made here may not reflect them correctly, as they have a higher Ballistic Skill. The negative To Hit-modifiers only go up to -4 because that means our BS4 units are hitting on 7+. That’s already moving, shooting at long range and at something behind hard cover! I highly doubt there will be a lot of occasions at which you will be even more handicapped (I can think of spells such as Iceshard Blizzard and special Rules such as Skirmisher). Remember that the Poison special rule (from Hagbane Tips) is negated when you need a 7+ To Hit. The positive modifiers similarly only go up to +2, as that would mean all Arrow types (even Swiftshiver Shards with their inherent -1 To Hit penalty), will be hitting on 2+. The same range is used for Waywatchers, except they hit on 2+ all the time with a +1 bonus To Hit (really, already with no modifiers if you are using the Accurate Shot). Hence, there is no row for +2 To Hit with Waywatchers. They also hit on 6+ instead of 7+ at -4 To Hit.


For clarification, it’s worth noting the negative To Hit-modifiers are listed as any additional modifiers. This means that the “No Mods To Hit” row with Swiftshiver Shards or the Waywatchers' Swift Shot does indeed already have the -1 To Hit built in from Multiple Shots. “-1 To Hit” is then actually -2 To Hit, and so on. Equally, “+1 To Hit”, is in that case actually a shot without modifiers.

Another thing deserving explanation is that there are rows for To Hit-modifiers on the Trueflight Arrows. The Arrows are calculated to always Hit on 3+, regardless of modifiers, but the different rows are just so it is possible to compare at what point the Trueflight Arrows become better than other options that do have to take modifiers.

Lastly, I have counted the Moonfire Shot/Starfire Shafts as always getting +1 To Wound, otherwise they would be no different to Regular (Unenchanted) Arrows, bar the Flaming Attacks of course. This does mean that if you intend to use the results in this table, you have to be up against the correct faction (Moonfire for Order, Starfire for Destruction).

How to read the tables

There are five tabs in the spreadsheet (or pages in the PDF). Each has a table with lots of numbers in it. The first two are “Damage – Enchanted Arrows” and “Damage – Hawk-eyed Archer”. These can be used in the following way:

“Damage – Enchanted Arrows”:
Read this table when you want to find out how much damage a volley of your shots is going to do. You only really need to look at coloured cells, the white cells are just there for calculations. The numbers in the coloured cells (or all cells in the printable version) here represent the damage per model. For example, if you are using Trueflight Arrows and target an enemy unit with T3 and a 6+ ASv (Empire Halberdiers, maybe?), you should cause 33,33% Unsaved Wounds. This means a 10-strong unit of archers should do 3,33 Unsaved Wounds to the Halberdiers, which obviously still has to be rounded down. So, on average, they should actually inflict 3 casualties.
Swiftshiver Shards are a special case. At BS4 they hit our Halberdiers with “No Mods To Hit” (which, remember, is actually -1) at 100%. This is special because each model has two shots. It means they really only have a 50% chance To Hit, but have two shots each. Looking at the table, they should cause Unsaved Wounds to the Halberdiers 50% of the time. That actually means that out of a 10-strong unit, they should cause 5 Unsaved Wounds, even though they shot 20 times. So not 10 Unsaved Wounds! That is what I mean with damage per model. Whether this 10-strong unit is 10 Glade Guard, 10 Glade Riders, or 10 Deepwood Scouts, the damage caused is the same.

“Damage – Hawk-eyed Archer”:
The Waywatchers’ table is read in the same manner. Choose your To Hit-modifier and your target’s Toughness/Armour Save and see how much damage you do per model. The same explanation as for the Swiftshiver Shards should be applied to the Swift Shot ability. This time, shooting at Halberdiers with “No Mods To Hit” (which, again, is actually -1) will net you 66,67% Unsaved Wounds, meaning 10 Waywatchers should kill 6,67 Halberdiers (rounded up to 7). From the trends in this table you can see there is a clear-cut answer to when you should use which arrow, which I will mention in the “Conclusions” section at the end. The way you see this is with the red- and purple-coloured cells, but you don’t need them to determine the damage you do, so ignore them for these first two tables.

The last three tables are “Glade Guard”, “Glade Riders” and “Deepwood Scouts”. These tables take into account the relative point costs of each of the Enchanted Arrow types. They are essentially the same as the “Damage – Enchanted Arrows” table, but each result is multiplied by a factor depending on the point cost of the upgrade. For example, a Glade Guard model upgraded with Moonfire Shot costs the equivalent of 8 Skaven Slaves, while an unupgraded Glade Guard costs only 6 Skaven Slaves. What you will find is that the damage done by a Glade Guard with Moonfire Shot in the “Glade Guard” table, will be 6/8ths of the damage done by him or her in the “Damage – Enchanted Arrows” table. This means that the last three tables are not accurate in determining the damage you should do per model and as such is not really useful on the board. What it is useful for, however, is in making your army lists. Because of the factor, all percentages show the damage potential point for point. What this means is that in the last three tables, each shot costs the same amount of points. 6 Skaven Slaves for Glade Guard, 9,5 for Glade Riders, and 6,5 for Deepwood Scouts. So, if you want to see what the best Arrow type is for its point cost, these tables are what you should use.

The way to do this and decide what to include in your army list, is to first choose which unit you want in your army. Pick between Glade Guard, Glade Riders and Deepwood Scouts and go to their appropriate table. Next, choose a role for your unit with Enchanted Arrows. Say, you have chosen Deepwood Scouts and already have a lot to deal with Armour (Waywatchers, Lore of Metal, etc.) and won’t be needing Monster Hunters but rather still lack a unit capable of just mowing down standard Core infantry (which can be an important job too!) . Take the Toughness and Armour Save value of that approximate unit, in this case let’s continue with our T3, 6+ ASv Halberdiers. Look in the column that describes those statistics. This time, you should focus on the red and purple cells. Any cells coloured purple indicate that Arrow type is the sole best contender for those conditions. In this example, Swiftshiver Shards would be the best if you are not planning on getting many negative To Hit-modifiers, or if you are boosting the To Hit capability with Magic (Hand of Glory/Enchanted Blades/Harmonic Convergence). Trueflight Arrows seem to be the best if you are planning on encountering a lot of To Hit-modifiers (which may be because of your very mobile playstyle, for example). Any cells coloured red indicate that Arrow type is the best contender for those conditions, but shares the top spot with another Arrow type, meaning there are multiple Arrows equally suited for this job. In this case, both Hagbane Tips and Trueflight Arrows are equally good if you are at -1 To Hit (at long range, maybe?).

Magical hexes and augments

The way to see the effect of any Magic, is to count the spell effect as additional modifiers. There are two options I can think of right now: a Toughness modifier and a To Hit-modifier:
If the Toughness of your target unit is modified, simply count that unit’s Toughness as being higher or lower. For example, if Elven infantry (T3), has Wyssan’s Wildform cast on them (+1 T), you’d have to place the infantry in the T4 column. If they have the Withering cast on them for -2 T, you'd have to place them in the T1 column (Seems pretty self-explanatory, really).

If a spell modifies your ability To Hit, do a similar thing. For example, you are shooting a target at long range behind soft cover. You would usually be at -2 To Hit, but, smart as you are, you have cast Hand of Glory on the shooting unit. And the D3 result nets you +3 BS! In that case, add +3 To Hit to your current situation, bringing your -2 up to a +1! Note, that there isn't really a way to depict how Harmonic Convergence helps the shooting. It’s possible to calculate, but would require way too much work.


If you don’t feel like figuring out how the whole thing works after all, I have written down some preliminary findings, by Arrow type. These are just suggestions for what to take in your army depending on their assigned role.

1) Unenchanted (Regular) Arrows: As expected, these aren't the best at anything. Looking at the last three tables, we can see all Enchanted Arrow types have at least some benefit, so – to spend points optimally – you should always upgrade your archers with Enchanted Arrows. The one use I do see for keeping them unupgraded is that you can combine it with the Banner of Eternal Flame to get cheaper Flaming Attacks. Alternatively, you could use these if, for some reason, you need your arrows to be non-Magical.

2) Hagbane Tips: Poison makes these bad boys the absolute best against anything T5+ (except maybe against a 1+ ASv, but what has that? Even then, they are not far off from the best). They are also very good against T4 without magical help, and are generally quite resistant to To Hit-modifiers (positive or negative), because they will always Wound on 6+ while rolling To Hit. This effect is negated at -4 To Hit, though, so make sure you never need to take that many modifiers. Hagbane Tips seem to only be mediocre against T3, but notice how they are still the most effective against T3 with a 6+/5+ and usually a 4+ Armour Save. This encapsulates most infantry in the game. I think these are VERY good overall, especially considering you can do things like shoot down War Machines on turn one with them.

3) Trueflight Arrows: These are consistently good against T4 or lower only if you would normally be at -2 To Hit or worse. Not to say that they are bad otherwise, but they wouldn’t really be worth spending extra points on, or rather, the points would be better spent on a different Arrow type. I can see these being very useful as a replacement of the archers in our old book, where we didn’t get a To Hit-penalty for moving and shooting. Shooting at T4 or lower is what we did with them anyway (or, that’s what I did at least), and Trueflight Arrows let you keep the mobile feel of the army. They also let you keep your archers very safe (long range, moving around the enemy, hiding behind cover, etc.) Keep in mind, Trueflight arrows take no negative modifiers To Hit, but can get positive modifiers. They only benefit from +1 To Hit, though, which makes them ideal candidates for Enchanted Blades/Harmonic Convergence but not so much for Hand of Glory.

4) Moonfire Shot/Starfire Shafts: These Arrows don’t really excel at anything, which surprises me. I thought their +1 To Wound would be huge, just situational (depending on the faction). It turns out they are kind of decent all-around, so could be useful if you know which faction you are fighting (Order/Destruction) and don’t really want your archers to be specialised at anything. I wouldn't advise this though. These calculations have made me realise it’s much better to specialise your archers for certain roles in the army. Make sure you do have all bases covered and have redundancy. The one saving grace for these Arrows, is that they come with the Flaming Attacks special rule, which could be useful to ping off any enemy Regeneration. If you are planning to use your archers in this way, I recommend going for Starfire Shafts. Pretty much all Regeneration is on units from the Forces of Destruction (Trolls, Chimeras, Hellpit Abominations, Beasts of Nurgle, Ogres with Gut Magic, …) and as such, getting +1 To Wound on them will ensure you at least get that one Flaming Wound through to strip Regeneration (after which you can bombard the unit with other Arrows of your choosing).

5) Swiftshiver Shards: Multiple Shot (2) Arrows look to be just ‘okay’ in normal conditions, honestly. As we will mostly be shooting at -1 To Hit (long range or moving), there are other – better – options. They only excel against T3 or lower enemies with little to no Armour while not suffering any additional negative modifiers To Hit. One noticeable thing with them, though, is that they lose a lot of their shots when rolling To Hit without bonuses. Because there is so much fluctuation, these Arrows seem to be prime candidates for Magical buffs which improve your chances To Hit. The ones that immediately come to mind are Hand of Glory (Lore of High Magic), Enchanted Blades (Lore of Metal) and Harmonic Convergence (Lore of Heavens) but there may be more. +2 To Hit makes them amazing against anything up to T4, but even +1 To Hit gets them some much needed punch. Keep in mind though, that unless you are playing Tomb Kings (which you hopefully are not!), you can never really rely on Magic.

6) Arcane Bodkins: These are great against enemies with very high Armour Saves (we are talking 3+ or better), which was to be expected, but only when not taking too many To Hit-modifiers. Trueflight Arrows are mostly as good or better when suffering -2 To Hit and straight up better at -3 or worse. This is against T4 or lower though. Against T5+, the clear winner is still Hagbane Tips, even against extreme Armour Saves of 2+. The only case in which Arcane Bodkins are better, is when the opposing T5+ unit has a 1+ ASv and you are not taking many penalties To Hit. Either way, these Arrows are a good choice if you need to hunt down knights or Monstrous Cavalry, though this role would be filled better by Waywatchers as they have a higher BS and ignore all Armour while only being 3 points more expensive than Glade Guard with Arcane Bodkins.

For Waywatchers’ Hawk-eyed Archer ability, it is clear when you should use each type of Shot: you can see the diagonal on the table. Regardless of Toughness, if you are shooting at anything with ASv 6+ or worse, always use Swift Shot. If you are shooting at anything with ASv 3+ or better, always use Accurate Shot. For ASv 5+, use Swift Shot unless you are seriously handicapped To Hit (-3 or worse). For ASv 4+, again use Swift Shot unless you are at at least -2 To Hit.

I sincerely hope this was useful! If anyone spots any mistakes, just let me know and I’ll fix them. Any feedback is welcome of course! There are 4 attached documents: a Microsoft Excel 2010 version and a PDF version of both the full and the more printer-friendly documents.

Written by: brechttomme

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